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October 26, 2005

Communication, Script

Srini started the check-in: Once of his friends is a left-brained, logical person who was facing relationship issues with team members at work and with family and friends. Srini asked his friend to try telling himself, �May be another perspective is possible� whenever he had some problem. His friend took the suggestion and is already seeing the difference it is making to his relationship. Also, Srini said that he has quit smoking! Whenever someone announces to others that he has quit smoking, I think it also becomes the responsibility of the others to encourage and support the person who quit smoking. �Let us see how long he doesn�t smoke� is not the right attitude. There is so much to learn from someone who resolves to break a habit. Let us support Srini and learn how he is handling those small but persistent urges.

Jay said that in one of the sales training courses he attended, the trainer asked everyone to start with, �I have a different opinion� if they disagree with someone. This, he said, avoided confrontations and arguments and made everyone realize that most of the time what we hold are opinions but we voice them as if they are truths.

Manju said that sometimes people surprise her by reacting to something she said though she did not intend anything that deserves unexpected reaction. She said that it feels burdensome to �take care� of others� emotions in a conversation and yet when she tries to do that she comes across as a weak person allowing others to take advantage of her sensitivity to their emotions.

My opinion on effective communication is that, if a person is genuine and speaks from experience, then all his communication defects in terms of lack of words, tone, body language etc � the struggle - would increase the effectiveness. Whereas, if a person is not genuine and is just parroting great ideas, even if he is very skilled, might be impressive but would not be effective.

Vijay said that at a transactional level, good communication skills are indeed important as in this case the main requirement is to accurately convey information. For example, he said that a Spanish speaking plumber, even though he is good in his work, because he doesn�t have communication skills and doesn�t know English accepts another person as his boss who becomes the middle man between him and the customer.

We then talked about equality. Manju pointed out the dangers of treating everyone as an equal by referring to the book, Hold On to Your Kids : Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld, Gabor Mate.

This book makes a case that when children look-up to their peers for guidance instead of their parents, then their schooling and maturation suffers as they develop all sorts of neuroses.

Vijay then mentioned the according to transactional analysis, every person has three states of being � the parent, adult and child states. And at any given time, we operate mainly from one of the states. This goes to show that a person is not equal even to one�s own self at two different times.

I then mentioned the concept of a life-script again from transactional analysis. According to this concept, most people form a script with heavy influence from their parents in their head before they turn six. And live the rest of their lives driven by the script irrespective of all external influences as the script adopts and reinforces itself to external influences. So if it is a �loser� script then that person will set up all situations in life in order to lose but will not be aware that it is his own script that is making him lose.

Kamala asked whether it is possible to change one�s script but we could not go into that discussion. For those who are interested, get the book �What do you say after you say hello� by Eric Berne. This books gives a good introduction to what is a script and ways to change it.

Manju then asked whether it is necessary for anyone to change their script. And she wondered whether there is anything called a good or a bad script. The above mentioned book will be a good place to start finding the answers.

Prasad had an important appointment and came in towards the end of the session. He gave a metaphor to understand how our script keeps us from growing up. He said that a hole near the ocean always has fresh water in it as there is pores-ness between the hole and the ocean. But if the hole is converted into a concrete well, then the connection with the ocean is cut off and the water in the well becomes stale. Once it becomes stale, any amount of water added to it will not make the water fresh. Similarly, when we hold on to our life-script tightly, then our ideas, beliefs and values become stale and lock us into a state of no-choice behavior and makes us repeat our mistakes again and again as no new learning has occurred.

Prasad suggested the book Taming your Gremlin by Richard Carson.

Practice: Make a list of your most repeated behaviors (ask others if you cannot come up with a list) and see whether you have solid reasons to continue those behaviors.

Posted by Ragu at October 26, 2005 02:15 PM

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